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Old 03-29-2012, 04:26 AM
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Default Vaccinations vs. Socialization?

I've been agonizing over this. Fable is 8 weeks old, and I really, really want to make sure she's properly socialized, especially considering her background and breed (No/minimal socialization combined with badly bred GSDs have never been a good mixture IME). But having had a puppy I never got to bring home because of parvo, I'm paranoid about the illnesses she might contract if I take her to public places.
Do I socialize her possibly at the expense of her health? Or do I keep her safe from illness but risk having an unstable, fearful dog?
Opinions? Advice? Do I wait until she's had all her vaccinations even though the prime socialization window is closing fast? What do you do with your puppies?
I know. Stupid, elementary questions. I've been embarrassed to ask but I need to know what you guys think.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:29 AM
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I wouldn't risk it. Parvo is such a horrific disease. Thousands of people get puppies everyday, and they don't start socialising until the final vaccination, the majority of them do just fine with socialisation.

Katy didn't start socialising until 12 weeks, and she is great with other dogs. Dogs make her happy! She also was poorly bred and had a very bad start (abandonned at 4 ish weeks old) I can understand your concerns though, in the end, its down to you, but I, personally, wouldn't risk it.

You could always carry her places if you wanted to get her out into the world, and take puppy pads for reliveing herself? Or do you know any dogs who are fully vaccinated that people could bring to your house for her to meet?
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:35 AM
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Be wise with where you take her. No dog parks or public places that are heavily populated by dogs. She will be fine if she doesn't spend much time with strange dogs in those few weeks. Get some good socialization in with people - carry her when you are moving through areas that get heavy foot traffic. Don't let her sniff/lick floors. Take her on car rides, expose her to different sounds and sensations and make it all super duper happy fun. Every little good experience helps. Cats, small animals, etc.

Make sure she sees ALL the things after she's done, and use this time to get her accustomed to potty training, basic commands, leash training and household noises. Also use this time just to bond with her, and worry about other people and other dogs later on.

My family's most socialized dog (during her 7-12 week period) was Dash. Dash got very little socialization after 12-13 weeks because my parents took her home to Arizona, while Eve and I stayed in Washington for the rest of the year. Eve and Dakota got significantly less socialization during the imprint period, but were pretty evenly socialized for their first year of life.

Dash, while she's generally stable, is a little bit of a fruitcake about certain things and Eve and Dakota are more balanced. The imprint period isn't -everything-.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:44 AM
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Parvo is a terrible disease, if you have it in your area you could easily bring it into your house from the soles of your shoes.

IMO I always choose controlled socialisation, more dogs are PTS due to behaviourial problems than parvo.

I take my puppies out and about from the day I bring them home. I would never take them to places lots of other dogs frequent like dog parks, even once they have all their vaccs I still don't take them there as I don't socialise my puppies with dogs I don't know. I also think a lot of people forget socialisation is about more than being around and meeting other dogs, it is about giving your puppy as many new experiences as possible and assigning those experiences a value, while teaching your puppy how to deal with them. I have seen so many dogs with issues because of poor or lack of socialisation and it is not a risk I would ever take. You only have such a small window in their development period to get the most out of socialisation.


ETA: I would be particularly concerned about a puppy from poor genetics and those that already display temperament and nerve issues.
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:10 AM
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I held Quinn back till 12 weeks to wait for her vacc to be done and I'm kicking myself for it now. She was well socicalised after that point but considering her less than stellar base temperament I think more would have done her the world of good.

I was so scareed of her getting sick but knowing what I know now about th small window you get for early socialisation and how vitally important it is expose them to things before that 16 week mark I would do a lot of safe socialisation. Carry them through markets and stores and shopping centres. Take them to places dogs don't often go to etc.

I would pick my spots carefully but theres no way I'd keep them at home.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:15 AM
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If you're that worried then focus on people places, not dog places. No pet stores or parks heavily populated by dogs. Go to bus stops, Lowes/Home depot (if yours allow dogs), the local ice cream place, baseball/soccer/whatever games in your area, etc. GSDs seem to be cropping up with a lot of fear issues, not sure if it's genetic or if it's how they respond to a lack of socialization, but I would try to get in as much as you can, at least with people. Stick to dogs you know for now if you're concerned.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:22 AM
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why do people have such a fear of walking their puppy in a park before it's had 15 shots, but have no problem walking them into a vet clinic to get those shots?

I take puppies everywhere. Not dogs parks, but then I never go to those. city parks, hardware stores, down the streets, everywhere I can think of. and I don't worry about it.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:34 AM
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Personally, I err on the side of socialization. I wouldn't go to, say, a dog park (which I wouldn't with a puppy anyway), but I took Squash everywhere with me for just normal everyday stuff, errands, walks, one of the (gasp!) small local pet stores, out in the neighborhood, etc.

Having said that, I live in an area with very low incidence of parvo/distemper, few strays, and high rates of vaccination (or titering). If those weren't true, I would have probably done things differently.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:38 AM
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I take puppies everywhere. I agree with the person who said that more dogs die due to not enough socialization than from parvo. Now if there was a parvo out break or something I might be a little more cautious.

As an aside the only puppies I knew that died from parvo were those that were vaccinated, the one non vaccinated puppy didn't get sick. Now that is not to say vaccines are bad, but it does make one question the efficacy of the vaccine.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:44 AM
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Well no vaccine is 100% effective, and how severe disease is/whether a puppy gets it vaccinated or not depends somewhat on the amount of virus the puppy is exposed to. We don't see a lot of it here, but every single puppy I've seen with parvo has been unvaccinated, and it's the same story every time... 14-16 week old puppy who has never had vaccines and now is sick. Makes me bang my head against the wall every time, too.
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